The Flexible SEL Classroom : Practical Ways to Build Social Emotional Learning book cover
2nd Edition

The Flexible SEL Classroom
Practical Ways to Build Social Emotional Learning

ISBN 9781032126623
Published March 22, 2022 by Routledge
152 Pages 61 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Social emotional learning is more than just helping students be social. In this co-publication from Routledge and AMLE, Amber Chandler shows how middle and high school educators can be intentional about seeing their students for who they are, growing relationships, and building community.

Grounded in classroom experience, Chandler's practical strategies can be adapted to suit different needs, so you can create a Flexible Classroom and reach all learners. Topics include encouraging academic risk-taking without fear of failure, helping students self-manage, teaching self-awareness, modeling responsible decision-making and empathy, building relationship skills, and emboldening students to become more socially aware.

This updated second edition features new chapters on running Restorative Circles and focusing on resilience instead of deficit analysis. There is also a special section with post-pandemic takeaways, as we learn new ways to help students thrive.

Table of Contents

1. The Truth About Grades and the Importance of Risk-Taking  2. Keeping All the Balls in the Air: The Importance of Self-Management  3. Escaping the Echo Chamber: Teaching Self-Awareness  4. Whatever Happened to Afterschool Specials? Preparing Students for Responsible Decision-Making  5. Relationship Skills: Don’t Let Them Get Your Goat  6. Social Awareness: "We All Have to Try"  7. Restoration: Circles and Bubbles for Healing  8. Resilience: Just Keep Pedaling

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Amber Chandler is a National Board Certified middle school English language arts (ELA) teacher in Hamburg, New York, and an adjunct professor at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. No matter which level Chandler is teaching, the goal is always the same: to enable students to take charge of their own learning. Chandler’s website,, has many resources to support teachers, and she regularly updates lessons and provides links to her webinars. Follow her on Twitter @MsAmberChandler and check out over 300 of her free resources on


"Amber's book is a practical 'how-to' focused on what all teachers need right now, ways to be flexible and nimble while meeting the varied social and emotional needs of their students. As an exemplary teacher herself, she talks the talk and walks the walk."—Jolene T. DiBrango, Executive Vice President, NYSUT


"Never in American's educational history have we seen so many students with serious mental health needs. Every educator needs to be prepared with new strategies to support social emotional wellness. The Flexible SEL Classroom by Amber Chandler provides relevant strategies, routines, and resources to support educators in embedding SEL and the CASEL competencies within content area instruction and classroom life. Amber shares research and her own experiences, as a student and a teacher, to provide insights which reveal how well she understands and connects with adolescents. Her book will inspire you to try new constructivist approaches like providing choice, Restorative Circles and Bubbles, and academic risk taking which will help students navigate their lives and future. A fabulous Educator Book Club read--I'm looking forward to hearing the discussions this book will foster as colleagues engage with this book and implement ideas in their practice."—Annette Romano, NBCT, Co-Director of the National Board Council of New York, Professional Learning Consultant